To have expectations can be a great thing. It allows you to set standards and to measure where you are in terms of meeting your targets. Within a D/s relationship expectations are really important as they are a key part of the commitment that you are making to the other person. It will be expected that you do and provide certain things and these things will be clearly communicated and, hopefully, reinforced by their response to them. However, in this sort of relationship the expectations on you both are really high and sometimes they cannot be met for whatever reason. This can lead to a strong feeling that you have messed up or let someone down.
Managing expectations is not something that I find particularly easy and I have to work to keep them in check in many areas of my life. I think that my nature lends itself to this as I have always expected a lot from myself and, in turn, from others. Sometimes it is just not possible to be all things to all people and actually the D/s and HisLordship’s expectations of me have helped to focus my attention, prioritise, and limit what I am striving to achieve. In other ways though, it can be difficult because you are trying to meet someone’s needs but it may not always clear what those needs are.
I know that in theory all of this should work really well but in reality sometimes things happen which mean that one of you is not able to meet the expectations that they have committed to in terms of the D/s. If the dynamic has given a bit, then perhaps the expectations of you are not being reinforced. By trying to self regulate and continue with your role you can carry this for a while but in the end it begins to lead to questions instead of acceptance. You are mentally asking ‘why’ rather than ‘what’, and this is a place that I find hard to be in.
I guess it would be easy to say that in D/s you should just communicate it if your expectations are not being met and that if both partners do this then it will be worked out within the terms of your agreement. You will discuss and come up with a strategy of what will work to get things back on track, reset, and get on with having an out-of-this-world connection. But if you are in a committed relationship, of which this dynamic is only part, it might not be as simple.
Sometimes for one reason or another, one of you might not be able to step up and meet your commitment at that time. What do you do then? If talking hasn’t fixed the situation then it may be a case of re-evaluating the expectations and working out whether they can be pared back for a bit. However, I also see couples taking a back seat from things sometimes for a while and I wonder whether maintaining such high expectations of yourselves is really sustainable all of the time.
Taking a break from something that you want is never an easy call but I have watched people do that to get themselves through until they can back on the course that they want to be on, and although that is not the preferred option it may be better than beating yourselves up about it and feeling guilty or let down because life has got in the way and, due to things like illness, work commitments, or a tough family situation, one or both of you is unable to fulfil the expectations of them at that time. I suppose the tough thing is where to draw the line. If a thing is worth doing it’s worth doing properly and that is of course the ideal, but if this can not be achieved for whatever reason, is it better to feel let down because expectations aren’t met, or change those expectations even if you know it means putting aside something you want for a while?
I would be interested to hear what others think about this as I assume that I am not alone in experiencing the downs of D/s as well as the ups. I know that I want it and I know why I want it, but sometimes I am not sure exactly how to make it happen if there are obstacles in the way that will just take time to work through. HisLordship and I have are still navigating through a challenging set of circumstances and this post is not meant to be some form of “goodbye I’m on a break”. We continue to work through the natural ebbs and flows of life, but I must admit that at times I do find myself asking these sort of questions and so I felt that it was worth writing about. I also think that sometimes life can have a way of helping you to see things from a different perspective and am glad to be part of a network of people who are able to help each other out by sharing the benefit of their own experience.